The Georgian Government’s dialogue efforts with the protesters against the construction of the Namakhvani Hydropower Plant proved unsuccessful as protest leaders unveiled plans today to launch on May 23 a series of large-scale rallies in Tbilisi, moving the protest epicenter from western Georgia’s Rioni Valley to the capital.
The announcement came in response to the Government’s statement earlier today, which said that while the beginning of the construction of the Namakhvani dam in the Rioni Valley will be suspended for nine to twelve months, preparatory works, which the activists have continuedly opposed, are set to continue. The Government also said the protesters will be allowed to return protest tents in the Valley, removed by the police forcefully some ten days ago, police barriers will be dismantled and the number of police near the protest sites will be decreased.
According to the statement, the Government has invited a representative of the EU’s Energy Community to participate in the mediation efforts with the civil society and study the potential environmental impact of the project.
The Government also pledged that the Justice Ministry will study the much-disputed state contract with Enka Renewables, the company behind the controversial construction project, while the authorities will continue talks with the firms’ leadership to improve the contract terms.
Dissatisfied activists argue the Government continues to ignore their demands and refuses to consider making any concessions. “The statement directly says the dam will be constructed in any case,” said Varlam Goletiani, a prominent local protest leader. Goletiani accused the Government of making decisions in coordination with other stakeholders of the project, without including the concerned activists in the process.
Follow our Namakhvani tag for earlier developments about the controversial project.
- Namakhvani Protesters Say Government Hints Concessions
- Tensions Mount as Police Dismantle Protest Tents in Namakhvani
- Orthodox Church Says Namakhvani Contract Raises Questions
- Police Detain Six Anti-Namakhvani HPP Protesters
- Tensions at Namakhvani HPP Site as Works Resume with Police Backing
- Massive Anti-Namakhvani HPP Protest in Kutaisi Demands Economy Minister Resignation